15 Back-to-School Essentials for College Students

A dorm room may be tiny, but your kitchen can still be mighty!

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June 08, 2021

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The 2021 school year is undoubtedly going to look a little different for college students, especially if your kid is living on campus. Eating in dorm rooms will be the norm and, if possible, college kids will be doing more of their own cooking. Nonetheless, one fact remains — it's always fun to stock up on school supplies. Depending on the school, a dorm space and layout will differ — but, whether your kid has a kitchen in their room or is met with a slightly smaller space, there are plenty of cooking essentials that make any new living situation practical and efficient. We’ve rounded up lots of fun items, from a classic mini fridge and microwave to a smaller-scale Instant Pot and Keurig that will fit any space. Make sure your kid is prepared with everything they need for stress-free dining this semester!

$34.99 $30

Your kid might be eating in their dorm room more than usual, and depending on how much space they have that could pose a problem. Turn their bed into a double-duty dining space with this bed tray, which also has a place to prop up a phone or tablet.

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With a capacity of 16-ounces, this mug has room to take a heaping helping of coffee with you when you head out the door. This container includes a leak-proof lid and can keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 16 hours. The container is also insulated with a copper wall, which keeps condensation from building up on the outside of the container.

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$79.99 $69

No one should be expected to make it through college classes (or life) without coffee. This little Keurig ensures that your kid doesn't have to, no matter how small their kitchen is. The Mini only five inches wide and seven inches tall, but it still holds enough for a 12-ounce cup of joe. Don’t worry, like a normal Keurig, the coffee is still ready to go in minutes.

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In addition to being powerful, compact and effective, this microwave is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. That’s right, this means that it’s nearly hands-free, which is perfect for minimizing the amount of germs that are transferred — especially around food. Just think, you could pop a bag of popcorn in there, and tell it to start popping mid-movie from your living space (oh hey, Echo Dot!).

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The only thing that could make the Instant Pot better, especially if you have a dorm-room-sized kitchen, is if it was smaller. Well, don’t worry — the brand has granted that wish. This little guy still acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and even a yogurt maker — just in a more compact form. It holds up to six-quarts, which equates to about six cups of uncooked rice or 12 cups of cooked rice.

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Keep leftovers and lunches fresh in this compact mini fridge. It’s 17 inches wide and 19 inches tall, making it the perfect solution for small kitchens and dorm rooms. It also has an adjustable thermostat and is super quiet.

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$39.88 $29

If your kid needs smoothies to get going in the morning, they definitely don’t have to compromise just because their dorm room doesn’t have space for a blender. This little magic bullet makes perfect personal-sized smoothies that can be popped off the base and taken with you to-go. It includes 13-pieces, which make it easy to chop, mix, blend, whip, grind and whatever else you need to create your favorite snacks.

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$43.99 $34

This 18-piece food storage set has perfect glass containers and reusable lids. They come in a variety of sizes, all of which are dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Don’t worry, the glass isn’t porous, so it won’t absorb food stains or odors.

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This 16-piece set may be made of durable melamine, but it looks sleek and sophisticated. It comes in four different colorways, and is completely chip, stain and break-resistant.

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Stock a new apartment with all of the cooking utensils that they could ever need. This 14-piece set is made of high-heat resistant silicone, and includes tongs, a spatula, a wooden spoon, a ladle and lots of other necessities. It also comes with a little holder for your countertop.

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This little set includes a traveling case so that they can stick in it in the desk drawer in their dorm room after you’ve finished eating. It includes a dinner knife, spoon, fork, chopsticks, a cleaning brush and a couple of straws. They’re all made of stainless steel, making them durable and easy to clean.

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Not only are these YETI bottles available in a variety of pretty colors, they hold up to 18-ounces and they're super durable. The color is fade, crack and peel-proof so that your kid can keep it looking vibrant and bright. It’s double-walled and vacuum-sealed so their drinks are sure to stay hot or cold for as long as they need.

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Pop this pitcher in a mini fridge and rest easy knowing that you have ice cold filtered water ready to go. It filters out copper, mercury, zinc and cadmium impurities all while reducing the taste and odor of chlorine. This particular pitcher even comes with a filter status indicator so that you’ll know when it’s time to change it out.

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This electric kettle holds up to one liter and boasts 1,500-watts of power — so water will be hot in no time! It’s completely cordless and comes with a removable filter that's super easy to clean. It also has an automatic shut-off feature so that it’s safe for dorm room living.

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Why opt for plastic bags when you could use these durable, reusable options? This set comes with a sandwich and a snack bag, both of which are made with food-safe silicone and is totally dishwasher-safe. They’re air-tight and self-sealing — so add convenience to the list alongside environmentally-friendly!

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